The Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival is coming!

Recently, I had a sneak peek at the upcoming Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival and let me tell you, it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before. The ‘Shout It Out’ mini festival preview was filled with music, laughter, and creative vibes – everyone there was having a blast!

From learning how to weave, to watching local talents perform, it was an all-inclusive celebration of Malaysian arts. So, mark your calendars and get ready to experience the remarkable YSDAF. After a hiatus of five years, this fusion of art, culture, and inclusivity is coming your way on 19 and 20 August 2023.

Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival

This mini festival taster was jointly organised by Yayasan Sime Darby and The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. It was attended by the media, who were treated to a preview of what’s to come. It showcased various music, film, cultural, and arts offerings that gave us a good idea how exciting the real event will be!

At the launch, hosted by KLPAC Co-Founders Dato Dr Faridah Merican, Joe Hasham, and the Chairman of YSD, they all expressed their excitement about the festival’s dedication to empowering emerging local artists, and embracing individuals of all abilities and underrepresented communities.

A lot of activities!

The mini Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival was an exciting affair with a plethora of activities. A group of children from various organisations graced the launch and reveled in the numerous activities presented on the KLPAC lawn. They painted miniature teepees, immersed themselves in storytelling, and engaged in playful activities.

sime darby festival 4 - Happy Go KL

At the same time, the older attendees enjoyed the performances, and actively participated in a range of interactive activities. The adults in particular had a fun time learning how to weave in an eco-friendly manner and my plus one learned how to brew tea using both traditional and modern techniques.

For me personally, the highlight was the music section at the festival. Local talents such as BlueMonk, who played the Shakuhachi flute, Anak Borneo, who sang Kenyah songs with the sape instrument, singer-songwriter Alfian Ahmad, and human beatbox Jay Jay Sea, who collaborated with AP Didgeridoo were amongst the performers. All of them were amazing and I will be looking forward to seeing them again in August.

Dance the Scene

Festival Co-Director Ian Chow announced that this was just a preview of over 300 free offerings in August that will take audiences on a journey through ‘Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow’. The festival will feature almost 60 new groups this year, and over 40 new works, with some traveling from as far as Penang, Johor, Pahang and Terengganu to participate.

In addition, there is an open call for Dance the Scene, a dance competition for Malaysian dancers with a cash prize pool of RM10,000.

It’s also important to mention that the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival has a sustainability partner, OPACK, and encourages BYOC and reducing single-use plastic. They offer eco workshops and showcase environmental documentaries as part of their programming. We can all improve on eco awareness, so I was very happy to see this included in the lineup.


Most importantly, the festival welcomes people of all backgrounds, with trained ground staff in Disability Equality Training and Disability Related Services Training.

On the last day of the festival, there will be workshops that promote physical movement for individuals with different abilities, such as those who are neurodivergent or who have Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, attendees will be able to enjoy the works of talented artists like Krithin, an excellent illustrator living with cerebral palsy and a demonstration of Malaysian Sign Language by Dr. Anthony Chong, a passionate deaf activist. Finally, a handbell ensemble, organised by GlobDCircle Entertainment, will be performed by individuals who are visually impaired.

The Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival will be full of vibrant colors, inspiring performances, and endless entertainment for everyone in the family. Don’t miss out on the biggest free-for-all arts festival of the year, which promises to be an unforgettable experience filled with laughter and joy. See you there!

For more information, visit the YSDAF website here.

sime darby festival copy - Happy Go KL

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